I have written my thesis at Siemens Power Transmission and Distribution. My supervisor is Jonathan Diehl.
Analyzing Net: A User Interface for Complex Systems Based on Mapping Principles
This thesis describes the design of a new interface for a control center in the domain of power transmission. The interface is based on visualization of associations between information, the basic principle of mapping. The associations and additional visual clues guide the operator to information, he needs to fulfill a task at hand.
Before starting the design process, I did intensive research about the domain of power transmission and the working context of a control center, by visiting a demonstration room, interviewing experts, and reading reports about site visits. During a demonstration I identified problems occurring in the user interface of a control center. I made a task analysis of the contingency analysis, which is used as example task.
I developed the interface in three cycles of an iterative design process. In the first cycle I used two paper prototypes to compare two different design approaches and to check for violated constraints violations. The evaluation of the second prototype, implemented as screenshot prototype, was used to strengthen my assumptions. The final prototype was implemented in C# using GoDiagram and XML. Parts of the evaluation took place at a control center of a power grid.
Finally I developed approaches to evaluate a new control center interface and identified major evaluation problems in the domain.
The work done for this thesis results in an interactive prototype, implementing associations for navigation purposes in a control center, an example for structuring the information, and suggestions for further evaluation.